EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


June 15, 2014

Kimball Farm gets second chance for mud race

Proposal for mud race includes busing in runners to control traffic

HAVERHILL — Foam Fest has a heart beat.

The 5-kilometer obstacle course race scheduled for June 21 at Kimball Farm has been in jeopardy since City Council denied organizers a permit two weeks ago.

The council rejected Foam Fest and two other large events planned at the East Broadway property this summer in the wake of neighborhood complaints and traffic problems at past events at the farm. The most recent event at the farm, KidsFEST last weekend, had thousands of visitors and reportedly went off without any problems, however.

Organizers of the Foam Fest race, which features mud- and foam-filled obstacles, recently said they have arranged backup plans to hold the event in a neighboring community if something was not worked out soon with Haverhill officials.

A last-minute proposal by farm owner and Haverhill firefighter Tyler Kimball might just do the trick.

Kimball has arranged for buses to transport runners to and from his farm from Seabrook Greyhound Track in New Hampshire. Kimball also promised city officials that no more than 2,000 people will be on his property at any time during the event.

Start times are staggered to limit the number of runners on the course at any one time, as well as traffic on local roadways, said Foam Fest organizer and promoter Ryan Cook. The event is billed as appropriate for either first-time or expert “mudders” and “foamsters.”

Kimball convinced six city councilors to sign his petition, which will allow the council to reconsider the event at its Tuesday night meeting.

According to its rules, a two-thirds majority of the nine-member council is required to reconsider an item within six months of final action, which occurred June 3 when the council voted 8-1 to reject Foam Fest.

“This race will certainly bring revenue to your city in the form of rented hotel rooms, filled restaurants and vendors to name a few businesses that will certainly benefit from 2,000-plus people visiting your city,” Kimball said in a letter to the council.

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